runway New York

The Beautiful and the Sublime : Zimmermann Fall/Winter 2016

Busy, busy, busy… sometimes beautiful and fun, and yes, sometimes too much for your eyes. Mirror, Mirror, the dizzying Fall/Winter 2016-17 collection from Zimmermann was inspired by the rich over-the-top colors, prints and textures from India. The Australian design house, never noted for its restraint, employed diaphanous sheers, prints and metallic lace embroidered with mirrors that danced across the body in a play of reflective light, as well as luxuriously heavy 40-momme silk charmeuses, four-ply silk crepes and Lurex knits. Print-on-print-on-print ensembles with draping, fringe, floating ties, lacing and a myriad of other details were densely layered in a melange that combined Eastern exoticism and Disco Inferno with Neo-Edwardian hippie-esque styles. Said to be exploring the connection between what we wear and how we feel, these clothes were the opposite of minimalism (maximalism?).

Sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann created elongated and voluminous ultra-feminine silhouettes in dresses and separates that had a serious seventies, sometimes space age influence; still, more than a few of the looks were strikingly forward. Color palettes of fuchsia, burgundy and tan; mushroom and bottle green; dusty blue and silver; and coral and black made their statements in everything from fabulous pin-striped, printed or solid-colored suits, (featuring either turtlenecked zip-front bombers or conversely, slouchy oversized “boyfriend” jackets, both worn with drapey wide-legged cuffed pants) to flowing caftan-like dresses, jumpsuits and soft, ankle-grazing coats, and onto harem pants and tunics.

A spectacular pajama-styled jumpsuit with a long coat was definitely swoon-worthy. The black and coral all-over print suit was delicious, as was a mirrored

sheer black metallic lace tunic over the floor-length pink and black print skirt with an overlay of fringe. A stunningly simple copper Lurex gown had a spacey, Princess Leia-type feel, and nubby, oversized blouson sweaters were fresh and lovely, particularly when paired with lace pants.

But mid-way through the show, the collection lost its focus and was hijacked into unknown territory that was showy and extreme. Print-on-print overload beginning with patterned tights was rampant in this collection, dizzying in a way that could be nauseating. A silver and blue bare-shouldered balloon-sleeved draped cowl dress with its swags, sash and matching-print tights was nightmarish, as was a similar style in black lurex. A short, bubble gum pink iridescent cracked-ice dropped-waist baby doll dress was ghastly, as was the boxy, oversized salmon pink motorcycle jacket, and blue Lurex jumpsuit.

The trapezoid and rib-baring lacing detail was lovely on a floating dress, but went into overkill on a mini-dress with far too many little bows holding it together - a transgression repeated again in a short billowy skirt unflatteringly coupled with an oversized blouson sweater. A burgundy-on-pink print lent itself beautifully to a soft, two-piece ensemble of a generously sleeved draped cowl blouse with matching palazzo pants, but failed to ignite when paired with a bomber jacket in burgundy-on-tan.

Mirroring the exoticism and layering of India among other influences, many of the garments were individually magnificent, but Zimmermann’s excessive styling pushed them too far. Buyers and consumers alike will be confused by this collection, forcing them to select very carefully or risk looking like a complete fashion victim.

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